Subsistence economy

ECONOMY AND CULTURE TYPE, set of economic and cultural features of diff. peoples, regardless of their genetic relationship, based on similar nat. conditions and trad. econ. activities. The following e.c.t. are attributed to N peoples from the end of the 19th cent. to the beg. of the 20th cent.

Tundra reindeer herders (Saami, Nenetses, Enetses, N’ganasans, Dolgans, N Khants, Mansis and Selkups, N Yakuts, some Evenks and Evens, and tundra Chukchi and Koryaks). The following features are characteristic: nomadic life (meridional seasonal movements following reindeer herds), draft sled transport, movable frame dwellings covered with reindeer hides (choom, yaranga), closed cut (pullover) fur clothing (Nenets malitsa, Chukchi kukhlyanka), high fur footwear, sometimes hide household utensils. The diet is based on reindeer meat.
Arctic sea mammal hunters (Eskimos, Aleuts, coastal Chukchi and Koryaks, and Okhotsk Evens). Lived in NE tundra in large semi-dugouts with whale bone and skull frame covered by sod, lit and heated by a stone walrus grease lamp. Also typical were frame boats (umiaks, kayaks) covered with walrus and seal skins, closed cut clothes and footwear made from the same skins, and diet based on meat and fat of marine mammals. Working dogs are also fed on sea hunting products.
Taiga hunters and reindeer herders (Evenks, some Evens and Dolgans, forest Nenetses and Enetses, N Selkups, reindeer Kets, Tofalars, and some Tuvins-Todzhins, Oroches, Ulta, and Yukagirs). Nomadic and semi-nomadic. Nomads lived in chooms, others had permanent winter and temporary seasonal settlements. Dwellings were framed, portable or permanent, covered with hides in winter and birch bark in summer. Clothes open-cut (with a vertical front slit). Small reindeer herds; reindeer were used mostly for transportation as saddle animals and pack animals during hunting and relocation (Evens and Evenks) or as draft animals. The diet was based on meat, fish, and products of gathering.
Taiga hunters and fishermen (unmounted Khants, Mansis, Kets, Yukagirs, and Udegeys, some Oroches, Nanais, Negidals, Itelmens, etc.). Hunting for meat and fur was highly important in the 18-19th cent. Semi-nomadic life with permanent winter settlements and seasonal and hunting cabins. The winter dwelling was a frame dugout or semi-dugout, shaped like a pyramid or truncated pyramid, also a pole or log house. Summer dwellings were variously shaped frame houses made from poles and bark: conical (chooms), shed-roofed, span-roofed, spherical, etc. Also typical were small hunting sleds, sliding skis (unfurred or furred), open-type clothes, and fish and wild animal meat in the diet.
Settled and semi-settled fishermen of large river basins (Ob, Yenisei, Lena, and Amur rr.) and Pacific coast (Ob Khants and Mansis, S Selkups, some Kets, Nivkhs, Ulchas, Nanais, Negidals, Oroches, Ulta, Itelmens, and some Koryaks). Econ. is based on seasonal fishing of migr. and local fish that provide food for the whole yr. (fish was preserved for winter as yukola), dog food (draft dog breeding), material (fish skin) for making clothes and footwear, etc. Marine animals were also hunted in some areas (Nivkhs and Itelmens). Dwellings were winter semi-dugouts with frame or log walls, houses made from vertical poles with grooving, log cabins, and seasonal dwellings made from poles and bark; closed cut clothing.
Transitional and local variants of major e.c.t. are also known. Shors combined hunting and agriculture, cattle breeding, and blacksmithing; Kumandins combined hunting and agriculture; Yukagirs, N’ganasans, and Enetses initially hunted wild reindeer and then became reindeer herders.
Levin, M.G., Cheboksarov, N.N. “Economy and Culture Types and Historic and Ethnographic Areas.” Sovetskaya Etnographia, #4, 1955;
General Ethnography Studies. Asian Part of the USSR. M., 1960;
Sokolova, Z.P. “Economy and Culture Types and Settlements of Khants and Mansis.” Ob
Ugrians (Khants and Mansis). Materials for the Series “Peoples and Cultures.” M., 1991; Golovnev, A.V. Historic Typology of Economy of Peoples of NW Siberia. Novosibirsk, 1993.

Dog husbandry is the most anc. kind of animal breeding coming from late Paleolithic and Mesolithic Age. Dog bones found at all the cult. sites of that period testify to this (see Domestic Dogs).
Sib. husky (laika) is the most pop. breed in N d.b. It has a wolfish head; a wide medium-sized forehead; small, slightly rounded, broad-based, erect ears; powerful jaws with well-developed teeth; wide round paws; strong muscles; sunken almond-shaped dark-nut eyes; the female is 50-55 cm, the male—55-60 cm high. Working qualities of Sib. husky are sensitive hearing, good eyesight, endurance, strength, sagacity. There were several terr. variations of this breed in the N. In add. to Sib. husky, some oth. breeds were also pop.

D.b. among N peoples can be subd. into the foll. types: hunting, watch-dog, hauling, sled-dog breeding. Dogs have been used for hunting since the Stone Age. In the 19-20th cent. dog hunting was practiced in the taiga by all the peoples of Sib. The Nanais had spec. hunting breeds not used as sled dogs.

Reindeer-herding (shepherd) Sib. huskies were widespread in tundra from the Kola Pen. as far as the Taimyr (see Reindeer herding). The Nenetses bred them specially—trained them to herd stray reindeer obeying master’s commands and motions; to direct the herd; to gather reindeer together; to protect them from wolves, etc. A herd totaling over a thou reindeer was usually guarded by two shepherds and several dogs, which were of great value. In 1917, expertise in the use of Nenets shepherd Sib. husky was transferred to the E regions as well.

Hauling d.b., when a dog is put to a hand sled, was practiced in the 19-20th cent. by the Khants, Mansis, Kets, Selkups; by the Upper-Lena, Amgun-Chimikan and Sym Evenks; by the Oroches, Udegeys, Ulta, the Upper-Kolyma Yukagirs, etc. While hunting in the taiga, the hunter hauled a sled with food or the catch in a team with his dog (the Khants, Mansis, Kets, Selkups, Evenks, Oroches, Udegeys, and Ults). The same technique was used by the Upper-Kolyma Yukagirs and the Sym Evenks to transp. household goods during their travels.

The beg. of sled-dog breeding is related to the devel. of fishing and sea game hunting, and supplying enough forage for keeping sled dogs. It became very pop. among the N peoples in the 18-20th cent.; it incl. breeding of specially trained sled dogs (the team outrunner was of special value) and using cert. types of dog sleds, harness, teams, and mounting. Sled-dog breeding started at diff. time in diverse places, there were 5 types of it.

The Amur-Sakhalin type (among the Nanais, Ulchas, Nivkhs, Ainus, partly among the Udegeys and Negidals) is dist. by use of strait-poppet sled with front and rear arches; longitudinal alternate (“herringbone”) team alignment; collar harness, replaced later with a 2-loop tug; riding mountain; 2-ostol (short stick with a sharp end, a brake) control.

The Chukotka-Kamchatka type dates from in the 2nd half of the 19th cent. There were two var.: the Chukotka var. (Asian Eskimos and coastal Chukchi)—an arch-poppet sled; cross (fanwise) team alignment, scapular harness, riding mounting, whip team handling; and the Kamchatka var.—an arch-poppet two poppet sled; longitudinal (pairwise) team alignment; scapular harness, since 19th cent.—breast harness (with one crosspiece); sideward mounting to the r.; ostol and rein team handling.

The W Sib. type was widespread among the Khants and Mansis, it was dist. by the use of a straight-poppet sled; longitudinal (pairwise) team alignment, hip harness, sideward mounting. Prevailed until the early 19th cent.

NW type appeared presumably in the 19th cent. among the Nenetses, Khants and Mansis. Dist. by a skew-poppet sled; cross (block) team alignment; hip harness; side (l.) mounting; khorei (long pole) team handling.

E Sib. type is dist. by the use of a strait-poppet sled with one front arch; longitudinal (pairwise) team alignment; breast harness, sideward (r.) mounting; ostol control. Became pop. when the Rus. came to Sib., presumably in the 16-17th cent.

Sled-dog breeding has declined in recent yrs. due to the reduction of fish reserves (persists in some areas where there are no roads for mechanical transp.).

Some peoples breed dogs for food. Among N peoples, the Nivkhs and some gr. of the FE Koreans consumed dog meat and fat.

D.b. is taught as branch of sc. in a num. of higher and secondary educational institutions. Sc. research is carried out at the B.M. Zhitkov All-Rus. Hunting and Fur Farming SRI.

Shereshevski, E.I., Petryaeva, P.A., Golubev, V.G. Sled-Dog Breeding. M., Leningr., 1946;
Hist. and Ethnogr. Maps of Sib. M., Leningr., 1970;
Kozlov, V.I. “Dog breeding.” Digest of Ethnogr. Concepts and Terms. Material Cult. Iss. 3, M., 1989.

HORSE BREEDING, a branch of cattle breeding, the main occupation of nomadic p. of the steppe and the forest steppe zones of Eurasia. H.b. had an auxiliary role in the ec. of the N p., except Yakuts, for whom it was one of the leading branches of ec. The Rus. documents of the 17th cent. sometimes name Yakuts as “horse people.” Other p. of the N borrowed h.b. from their neighbors—Buryats, Yakuts, and Shors. Evenks of the S distr. of the Baikal area, and the upper course of the Amur R. were often called “mounted”: they combined hunt. with herd breeding of horses. The memory of h.b. is reflected in the terms, folklore, and art of Khants and Mansis (settlers from the W Sib. steppe had mixed with these p.). Yakuts knew both pasture breeding, and the stabling of horses when hay was stored for the winter. Yet practically all yr. round, horses were pastured and retrieved fodder from under the snow with their hooves. A charact. feature of h.b. for Yakuts and oth. Sib. p. was pasturing horses without a shepherd. Severe conditions and the cold climate made Sib. horses esp. sturdy; they had long fur, but were not very productive. Horses were used for carrying packs and riding. Mares were milked only in summer, and kumiss was made of the horse milk. Horses also provided meat, skins and horsehair, which was used to make lariats and nets, and to ornament birch-bark vessels. H.b. is still widespread in Yakutia.

FISHING holds an important place in the trad. ec. of most N peoples. F. tools, such as bone hooks and harpoon heads, have been known there since the Paleolithic Age. F. became a special ec. branch in the Neolithic era. F. determined the entire complex of the mat. cult. of the indig. peoples of the Amur and Ob basins, Kamchatka-Okhotsk region, and Sakhalin Isl.: fish was their main food and meal for dog sled teams, and they used fish skin to make clothes and footwear. The peoples who mainly fished led a settled way of life and moved only during the summer—to better fishing grounds. The fish caught during the fishing season (esp. the migratory salmonids) was stored in winter in the form of yukola and the remains became dog food. All N natives were also keen on ice fishing.

There is river, lake, and sea f. (the latter was popular with Pomors). The f. tools of N natives are divided into simple, hook, net, and shutoff tools.
Simple tools were harpoons, scoop-nets, drag-nets, etc. Harpoons were strike (impact) or missile tools with a cone-shaped head with 1 to 6 jaggy ends. Most harpoons had 3 ends. They were of two types: missile, with a releasable head, and impact, with the head tightly fastened to the handle. Harpoons with releasable heads (Nanai degbo, Udegey degbo, debo, Ulcha uya degboni, chakpa, Nivkh chak) were fastened to the handle at the cone-shaped side. The belt (or rope) attached to the head was fastened to a ring on the other side of the handle. The harpoon was thrown as far as 5-8 m. If the head hit the fish it fell from the handle, which became a float holding the prey in place. The fisherman pulled the fish and killed it with a mallet. The harpoon with a tightly fastened head (Nanai chakpan, Ulcha chakpa, Udegey meyme) was used to kill small ordinary fish. One-jag harpoons (Nanai amurma, Negidal dyagby, degbo, Ulcha degbo, Nivkh chamrkh, tungy) had jags that held the fish in place. It was also used to catch big fish trapped in a net. The two-jagged harpoon (dzhungi) was used by the Oroches to kill Sib. salmon and taimen.
Torching was popular: nocturnal fishing with the help of a torch and harpoon. Fishermen sailed in the dark, downstream, with a burning batch of birch-bark or a chip fastened to the bow. The light attracted the fish, which they killed with a harpoon. They also harpooned fish in the winter, in ice-holes, when it rose to the surface to breathe. At the shutoffs or locks (zapor), the fish were killed with pike poles and long poles with sev. hooks.
Evenks and their neighbors (Nanais, Ulchas, Nivkhs, etc.) used an impact tool similar to the harpoon called a marik. It was a hook (elgu, eigu) tied to or placed inside a special groove on a long pole up to 6 m long. There was a belt attached to the base of the hook, also tied to the handle. The marik was used to fish from a boat and the shore. If it hit the fish, the hook slipped out of the handle and hung from the belt along with the catch. The Evenks also had a marik with an immovable hook (badar). Scoop-nets were used to scoop the fish from the traps. Sometimes these scoop-nets played an independent role: Chukchi used them to catch navaga from their canoes, Nivkhs, Negidals, and Ulchas used them to catch small fish called smelt in spring. Chukchi, Shors, and Tuvins caught fish with the help of drag-nets. Forest Nenetses, Khants, Mansis, Selkups, and Evenks used bows to kill fish. Khants had special arrows for pike with furcated bone and later iron heads.
Hook tools and fishing rods consist of one or sev. hooks tied to a line, the other end of which is fastened to a long pole, the rod. Some peoples (N’gansans and Dolgans) used a sharpened bone spoke with a hole in the mid. used to tie it to the line instead of a hook when catching large fish. They placed a weight under the hook and a float above it, the float could be moved along the line, and thus it was possible to regulate the fishing depth. Primitive rods, “makhalkis” (from the Rus. makhat’—wave) (Nanai umeke, Oroch umeken, Ulcha umbu, Nivkh kerkus) with a hook placed right on the weight and a short handle which was used to move the
rod up and down when fishing, were popular on the Amur R. Koryaks also had a floatless rod (eng’unen), its rod had a bone head on one end and a curved wooden or bone handle on the other. The line with the hook and weight was threaded through a hole in the head and its free end was coiled around the handle. By coiling and uncoiling the line, the fisherman regulated the fishing depth. Sometimes the rod was replaced by a wooden board with hollows at the ends. The Ket hook tool tangrap had a similar struct.: its line was tied to a wooden board with hollows at the ends. They caught fish from their boats, while moving, by throwing the line from the hull and uncoiling it when necessary. The tangrap hook had 2 or 3 jags, and a piece of light deer skin or red cloth was tied to it to serve as bait. Winter ice fishing with rods was very popular. A fisherman often put up a tent over an ice-hole.
Self-catch tools are also considered hook tools: set lines and self-catch, which the native peoples adopted from Russians. Sev. dozen hooks were tied by “leashes” to a long rope called “khrebtina” (from the Rus. khrebet—ridge), which was pulled on the water or over it; sometimes the “ridge” was held at the bottom by weights and the hooks hung in the water with the help of
floats. The Saami tied a line with hooks to a pole dug into the bottom of the river or lake (aluvn). Usu. sev. such poles were placed together. They were also used when ice-fishing. When catching large fish, the Amur peoples used hook traps (Nanai kiutel, Ulcha k’iutel, kuitelzi, Nivkh kite): a big hook was driven into a log up to 50 cm long, base side down; at times the log was shaped like a fish for magic purposes. The base of the hook could have a loop at the end—esp. for the float. A hook with a float and a rock as a weight were tied to an anchor made of rods. A whole fish (Sib. salmon or humpback salmon) was placed on the hook to serve as bait.

Net tools are divided acc. to function into gill nets and impounding nets.Gill nets were used to surround the fish. They were woven from thin nettle or hemp fiber, deer tendons, or in the case of Yakuts, N’ganasans, Dolgans and Kolyma Evens—horsehair. They wove them with the help of a wooden or bone needle. They used a yardstick, or a quadrangular board, if none were available, they measured the necessary size with their fingers. The size of the mesh varied from 1-1.5 cm to 30 cm and depended on the size of the fish for which the net was meant. The Nanais and Ulchas had a net for catching large fish: c.50 cm long with up to 50 cm mesh; 1.5 m logs served as floats.Acc. to the catching type, nets are divided into bottom gill nets and free gill nets, acc. to their form—into quadrangular or bag-like. With quadrangular nets, a cloth is placed on ropes: the top with the floats, the bottom with the weights. Bag-like nets (merezhis) could be placed on rings.
Bottom gill sets were placed in open water and under the ice with the help of a long pole. For example, the Amur peoples had a bag-like net for ice-fishing called anga. It was placed under the ice with the help of a special tool shaped like a long hook (Nanai odor, Ulcha uduli). A control rope was attached to the net and tied to a flexible rod stuck into the snow: when it trembled the fisherman knew that the fish had been caught and took it out of the net. A type of anga: kheru, c.6m long, was used by Nanais and Ulchas to catch she-whales.
They floated free gill nets in diff. ways: one fisherman in one boat, two fishermen in two boats (“tandem”) or one fisherman in a boat while the other holds the net and walks along the shore. With the Nanais, a fisherman held one end of the net (yarako, yarako adolini, yarkho adolini) and a float was tied to the other end of it, usu. a birch bark box (matakha) filled with water, the more water it contained, the slower the net moved along the river.
The Koryak bag-like net koinyngen or cherpashka (from the Rus. tcherpat’—“to scoop”) had a handle fastened to its opening. Standing knee-deep in the water, a fisherman held the net by the handle and floating it along the current or tide and scooped up the fish. Bag-like nets of more complex struct. formed a special class of net fishing traps (kaldan, syrp, vazhan).
Impounding nets or drag-nets (Khanty sayiv, Saami kirt, nu kh’t, Evenk nevot, alga, gipchuvun, munka, irchachivun, Ket ayan, Koryak ginyngin, kanatyngen, yitvatyngen, Dolgan muunka, Nenets ponga, Selkup nekaspokky, Itelmen khilyn, Nanai alga, nariako, boyamagda, etc., Ulcha silchi argani, davamagda, sirumagda, etc., Oroch agga, dagdali, Udegey adili, Nivkh k’yr k’e) were adopted by the local peoples of the N from the Russians. They bought net cloth or webbing made of thick thread with a mesh size of c.1-1.5 cm from the Rus. as well. The net consisted of a central large bag (bunt) made of small webbing and wings made of webbing with slightly larger mesh. Floats were sewn to the top edge of the net and weights to the bottom edge. Usu. one wing, the “river” wing, was held by the fishermen in the boat and the other, “the shore” wing, on the shore, the fishermen gradually came together and pushed the fish trapped in the net into the bunt.
The shutoff fishing technique was also popular. The Khants and Mansis, forest Nenetses, Selkups, and all the peoples of the FE were very fond of the shutoff (Nenets, Ulcha mengen, Negidal lipkune, Ulta pindi): a type of fence made of rose willow with “gates” where they placed woven traps or bag-like nets. The shutoff way of fishing was used in small rivers (their beds were completely blocked), also in lakes and bays. In wide rivers only part of the bed was blocked and the shutoffs had an inverted L-shaped form (the lower reaches of the Amur, Liman). Winter shutoffs in small bayous were typical of the Amur, their bag-like
nets were checked every couple of days. It was common to fish with primitive rods (makhalki) at the edge of the shutoff.
Varpakhovski, N.A. Fishing in the Ob Basin. St. Pet., 1898;
Brazhnikov, V.K. The Fishing Grounds of the FE. St. Pet., 1900;
“Alien Ec. of the Amur Peoples.” Works of the Statist. Directory. Khabarovsk-Blagoveshensk, 1929;
Vasilyev, V.I. “Problems of Shutoff Fishing Tool Origin of the Ob Ugrians.” Works of the Ethnogr. Inst., 1962;
Smolyak, A.V. “On the Old Fishing Methods of the Continental Nivkhs.” PIIE, 1978;
Smolyak, A.V. Trad. Ec. and Mat. Culture of the Peoples of the Lower Amur (ethnogenetic
aspect). M., 1984.